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What are you normally doing around 4 p.m. on a Thursday? Working? Sounds about right.
College football doesn’t really care for your work ethic. ESPN (who is not at fault this time, as they tried to fight arrogant college football’s playoff plans as best they could) announced the times for the CFB Playoff semi finals, New Year’s Eve, starting at 4 p.m. EST with another game hand picked to cut into any plans you might have like a normal person at 7 p.m.
It’s not the end of the world by any stretch, but if folks are telling you it won’t hurt ratings, it’s because they’re either media paid to watch the games, unemployed, retired, or a college student off on break. The knowledge of this has been simmering for awhile. I wrote a piece earlier in the year about how if you wanted to damn yourself to being single for 2016, tell your significant other you’re watching football rather than going to a New Year’s Eve party with her. And have fun kissing the couch at midnight in your own destitute sadness.
But putting games on at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.? I guess ESPN did all it could with this one. Do people realize that’s barely past noon out west? What if Southern Cal or Oregon or Arizona or any one of the Pac 12 is playing in that game? Their own damn fans won’t get to watch.
“Eh, who cares?” – college football.
And it’s not just about New Year’s Day and the nostalgia of that day being a pivotal day in college football. This could have been done on Jan. 2, when the NFL was still a week away from their Wild Card Weekend. College football is literally competing against itself on Friday and Saturday and decided to have the games on Thursday, one of the more socially gathering-type evenings of the year annually.
This is a lot like the option of someone saying they’ll buy you a free meal and you pass up all the steakhouses and decide to get a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s.
Like I said, there are greater injustices than the timing of football games. The Peach Bowl will suffer greatly with that early time slot, beginning at a whopping 9 a.m. PST.
The West Coast normally gets jobbed on all time slots, having to coalesce to the whims of the mostly EST-living media. How much complaining did we hear about the NBA playoffs starting late, with no one actually realizing that it’s a pretty normal time on the West Coast to be watching sports?
Surely, the CFB Playoff committee will do its best to get the Pac 12 in that late game if they line up into a playoff spot, but that alone should give trepidation about the system, where ratings and time zone considerations even become a talking point.
I’ll make you this guarantee … the CFB Playoff ratings will dip from where they were last season, no matter what the cachet of who plays for the title. How far it dips will determine if the powers that be come to their common senses and decide to hold this thing on New Year’s Day and at times that don’t scream West Coast prejudice.
As is with most things, pride comes before the fall. The pride of college football thinking they can play God with the schedule will cause the fall. In ratings. And hopefully, we’ll get the college football playoff we deserve out of it.
On a side note, I hope two Pac 12 teams get in, just to accentuate the idiocy of this whole ordeal. But college football has made a cottage industry out of not figuring things out with regularity and it’s worked fine. If it ain’t broke … continue breaking it, I suppose.